Friday, September 17, 2010

30 Day Book Meme - Day 03

Please note that on Saturdays and Mondays, I won't be posting entries for this meme.

Day 03 - The best book you've read in the last 12 months:

Another really difficult one. For this one, I'm going to go with Rain Before Morning by Michael Poole. Most of you won't have heard of this book as it was written by an author here on the Sunshine Coast and published Harbour Publishing, a small publisher located a few kilometers north of where I live. The novel is a powerful piece set before and during WWI, following the love story of a young couple, Leah and  who meet when she moves with her family to a village on the Sunshine Coast. Her mother disapproves of the romance and finds a way to separate them. Leah ends up in France during the war while Nathan spends time in logging camps, trying to earn enough money to support them. When conscription is invoked, Nathan and Leah face their biggest challenge yet.

What I loved about this book is the atmosphere - the dripping trees, the cold, the smell of the sea and the sound of the wind. Poole, who grew up in this area, captures it effortlessly. Combine this atmosphere with a rivetting story that pits a group of young men who are evading the army and you have a novel that grips and envelops its reader. In dealing with the politically charged issue of conscription, and the varying reasons young men opposed it, Poole addresses an aspect of history not often discussed any more. He also deals with Leah's disgust for the early 20th century military attitude towards shell-shock. Though this book is by no means an easy read - at times it all but overwhelmed me emotionally, it is compelling and well worth taking the time to curl up with.

Currently Reading: Shadow Baby by Margaret Forster

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